Saturday, January 28, 2012

Carrot ginger lime soup

Its -15 degrees outside. With flurries. Go to Igloofest*? Okay
Its -10 degrees outside. Its also one in the morning. Trek outside from a birthday party to walk for half an hour to go bowling? Okay
Its -5 degrees outside. The ground is still iced over. Go outside for a big $6 McGill breakfast? Okay
Its 0 degrees outside. The warmest in days. Walk to the gym? Ugggh No. It’s too cold.  

*Igloofest takes place outside at night in Montreal during winter with DJs as well as ice sculptures containing bottles of Jagermeister inside and igloos containing electric swing music inside. It’s a Canadian thing I guess.

And the life lessons learned from those decisions? In order as above:
  1. Free marshmallows on a stick unintentionally frozen by the winter weather taste really, really good.
  2. Birthday cakes should always contain a layer of cookie dough “icing”.
  3. $6 McGill Breakfasts. Always worth leaving the house for.*
  4. In contrast, the gym is not a motivator for leaving the house.*
*already known but again verified

And with this weather, there’s one thing I’ll pretty much always say okay to:
Which is, do you want soup?
And this carrot ginger lime soup my friend Chloe introduced me to is one of the most interesting soups I’ve come across so far. It contains ingredients I don’t normally love on their own (ginger, yuck), but unexpectedly compliment each other really well. Plus its low-fat factor might be a good idea for a body that has been sustained for a weekend on marshmallows, cookie dough, and bacon. Yah.

2 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups carrots, chopped (about 7-9 carrots or 2 lbs)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
6 cups water or broth
Juice of half a lime
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Add the oil to a big pot and add in the onions, carrots, garlic, cumin powder and curry powder. Cook everything on medium heat until the onions have started caramelizing.
2. Add around 6 cups of water or broth, enough to just cover the top of the vegetables. Simmer uncovered for about half an hour or until everything is very tender. (You may need to add in more liquid as it starts evaporating)
3. When all the vegetables are tender, add in the ginger and squeeze in the juice of half a lime.
4. Blend mixture with an immersion blender in batches until smooth. Add in more broth or water to thin out the soup until desired consistency.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste and once the soup has chilled slightly, garnish with lime zest and yogurt if desired. This makes a lot and stores well in the fridge or freezer.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mini apple bake

Sometimes it’s the little things that are SO. ENTIRELY. SATISFYING. Like having a simple sit down dinner with friends after a day of classes. Or spotting a bowl of free lollipops after a 1.5 hour lecture. Or getting some extra cash from selling back old textbooks... And using it to acquire things like black current beer. And of course finding a good Groupon always leaves me with a smile. 

And eating something indulgent that is also low in calories and healthy? That goes on the list for sure. These apple bakes are crammed full of apples with a little bit of batter to hold everything together. They are the lazy man’s apple pie and uses ingredients that are probably already on hand. 

Convinced yet?

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen:
5 large granny smith apples  
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
Oil for greasing the tin
Optional powdered sugar/cinnamon for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel apples and cut apples into medium size chunks
2. Lightly grease a 6 cup, extra large muffin tin and divide the apple cubes between the six cups so that it is piled to the top of each cup
3. In a bowl, mix the eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and flour together
4. Pour batter mixture on top of apples, evenly dividing the mixture
5. Smooth the batter on top of the apples, shaking muffin tin so that the batter covers the apples
6. Bake for around 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Don’t over bake or the apples will lose their structure.) Dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon if desired. Stores well in the fridge.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

There's a beaut

Three weeks ago, there were finals.  
Two weeks ago, I was on a plane headed home for Vancouver.
One week ago, I was on another plane headed for Miami sunshine.
Yesterday, I flew back to Montreal.
And tomorrow, classes start again.

Now, entering my final semester of undergrad, I’m equipped with a receding tan, fifteen hours of on-flight movies watched, a new hair dryer and a fond memory of all the holiday food consumed. Like crispy pork and lamb hotpot in Vancouver, fresh ceviche and local lobster in Miami, and a Reuben pizza and cheesy garlic bread in Montreal. Final exams not withstanding, the past few weeks have been food good.

And while this break may not have helped me narrow down any major life choices for the coming year, it does leave me with some exciting ideas for what to prepare for future meals. On my list of things to be re-created are a curried chicken salad on some fluffy couscous that I had at the outdoors Cafe at Books & Books on Lincoln Rd, Miami. And a salad of mixed greens topped with fresh mango, goat cheese, black beans, avocado and grilled shrimp. As well as tender braised beef with black rice and beans that was served at a local food stand in Biscane Bay, Miami.

So if 2012 is anything like 2011, there will definitely be some good food to be had along the way.
Happy New Year!
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